Deerbolt Prison

Deerbolt is a prison and young offender institution near Barnard Castle, County Durham for men aged 18 to 24.

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Book and plan your visit to Deerbolt

Deerbolt is now offering limited visits for family and friends in line with coronavirus restrictions.

To ensure the safety of visitors, residents and staff, there are strict guidelines which must be followed during you visit.

To visit someone in Deerbolt you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • have a visiting order
  • book your visit at least 2 days in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

There is a maximum of 3 visitors in total, of which one must be 18 or older. Only one social visit can occur per calendar month at present.

The number of visits a person can have depends on the ‘privilege’ level he’s on, but at least 4 a month.

Contact Deerbolt if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:

  • travel to Deerbolt
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

Application forms are available in the visitor centre.

How to book family and friends visits

Deerbolt is running a limited visits schedule. Visits are also happening differently than normal, observing strict guidelines, which must be followed.

You can book your visit by telephone. There is no online booking service available.

Booking line: 01833 633 349
The booking line is open, Monday to Friday, 9am to midday
Find out about call charges

Visiting times:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 1:45pm to 3:05pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 1:45pm to 3:05pm

You will be given a full hour once in the visits hall.

There are currently no formal legal visit sessions. For enquiries or booking a session, contact

Getting to Deerbolt

Find Deerbolt on a map

The closest mainline railway station is Darlington, around 20 miles away. You will need to take a taxi from the station to the prison, or a bus from Darlington bus station to Barnard Castle.

To plan your journey by public transport use:

There is car parking available at the prison, with some Blue Badge spaces.

Entering Deerbolt

All visitors aged 16 and older need to bring one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name and photo of the visitor)
  • European Community identity card
  • CitizenCard

If you do not have these, staff may accept 2 or more of the following types of ID:

  • rail or bus pass with photo
  • young person’s proof of age card
  • trade union or students union card
  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • cheque book or credit card
  • rent book
  • foreign ID card
  • NHS medical card

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Deerbolt has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses, no see-through clothing, no offensive slogans and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).

There will be no refreshments available during your visit.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Deerbolt. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Visiting facilities

The visitors and family support centre run by Nepacs is currently closed in line with coronavirus restrictions. The tea bars and children’s play areas are also not available to use.

Family days

Deerbolt is not running any family days.

Keep in touch with someone at Deerbolt

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Deerbolt.

Phone calls

Residents do not have phones in their rooms so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this. They usually call in the evenings during the week and in the daytime at weekends.

They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.


You can send emails to someone in Deerbolt using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos that will be printed out and given to the resident.

Secure video calls

Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends need to download the purple visits app, create an account, register all visitors, and add the prisoner to their contact list.

Read more about how it works


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Deerbolt.

All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to The Governor and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

You cannot hand over items for the resident during a visit. You may leave books with staff in the visitors centre, who will check them and pass them on to the resident.

You can only send in underwear, socks and books. No other items are allowed. The parcel must be clearly labelled with what’s inside.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

People in Deerbolt are given a list of approved items that they can buy from a catalogue.

Life at Deerbolt

Deerbolt is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Deerbolt has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by County Durham Safeguarding Adults Inter-Agency Partnership.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Deerbolt, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will be able to have a shower and speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.


Each person who arrives at Deerbolt will at first be located in the induction unit (I wing). Residents will get:

  • a 2nd class letter to write home
  • an information booklet
  • an information booklet for their family and friends
  • the canteen price list, from which they will be able to order items

Residents get an induction that lasts about 3 days or longer, if needed. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.


Around 500 young men live at Deerbolt mostly in single rooms. There are 10 wings, including K wing which is a small unit holding 16 men.

There is a gym, astroturf pitch and sports field.

There is also a health centre and multi-faith chaplaincy team.

Education and work

Deerbolt’s education department is run by NOVUS and offers both full-time and part-time courses in a variety of subjects.

Students have the opportunity to improve their basic skills, learn new skills and gain qualifications, to help them gain future employment.

Education courses include:

  • literacy and numeracy
  • IT
  • health and safety
  • Football Association refereeing
  • food hygiene
  • parenting
  • employability

Vocational training courses and work opportunities include:

  • painting and decorating
  • joinery
  • recycling
  • gardening
  • catering
  • laundry
  • printing and design
  • waste management
  • multi-skills
  • bike repairs
  • interior fittings

Other activities available are:

  • distance learning
  • peer tutoring, including literacy
  • working in the education department and library

Career advice is offered by Changing Lives and reading support from the Shannon Trust.

Deerbolt offers accredited offending behaviour courses along with other psychological services.

Deerbolt works with partners such as Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service to help residents work towards finding employment or related training after release.

Accommodation and financial advice is provided by Shelter. Advisers will also try to link residents with community-based agencies to help ensure that support continues after release.

Temporary release

Residents are not usually released on temporary licence, but the opportunity to move to a prison that offers release on temporary licence (ROTL) is available.

Organisations Deerbolt works with

NEPACS supports anybody affected by imprisonment in the north east. Deerbolt also works with Darlington County Council and Greggs Foundation.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Deerbolt

The visitors centre at Deerbolt is run by Nepacs who can offer help and support.

Contact Nepacs on: 01833 633 272
Find out about call charges

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem email:

If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Deerbolt in response to independent inspections.

Contact Deerbolt

Governor: Andrew Hudson

Telephone (24 hours): 01833 633 200
Fax: 01833 633 201
Find out about call charges

Follow Deerbolt on Twitter


HMP/YOI Deerbolt
Bowes Road
Barnard Castle
County Durham
DL12 9BG

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Deerbolt, call the safer custody hotline. Leave your name, telephone number, the resident’s name and a short message. This line is regularly checked and someone will call you back.

Telephone: 01833 633 212
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, contact the switchboard.

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.

Published 24 March 2020
Last updated 14 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about visiting facilities and family days. Added information about how to book video calls with residents.

  2. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  3. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  4. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  5. added survey link

  6. Visit information update

  7. First published.